Green Guide to CES 2011

Updated. Each year we’ve brought you the greener — and less green — sides of the massive annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) (CES 2010, CES 2009, CES 2008). In 2011, we’ll continue with the tradition. Here’s the green guide for what to see, do, complain about, watch for, and test out:

1. Home Energy Management. Verizon (s VZ) will be demonstrating its new connected home service, complete with energy management, which the telco is piloting in New Jersey starting this month. Verizon will be using a product from startup 4Home, which was recently acquired by telecom gear provider Motorola (s MMI). Users will be able to tap into the new service to control and manage home devices remotely including thermostats, lights, security cameras, and locks. Will consumers respond to the energy management piece when it goes commercial? We’ll see later this year.

A company called GreenWave Reality, which was launched in June 2010 by former Cisco (s CSCO) execs, is also touting a home energy management product that includes smart plugs, a management interface and an LED. Control4, EnergyHub, iControl, will also be at the show. In addition, CES has a panel planned around this topic.

2. The Connected Car. For the third time, Ford (s f) CEO Alan Mulally will present a CES keynote; he speaks early afternoon. It’s no coincidence that Ford also released a note Monday describing how its Ford connected Sync platform is being used in 3 million Ford cars to date, after being introduced three years ago. Ford reportedly will also show off its Ford Focus 2012 electric car.

Beyond Ford, CES has put together a panel on the connected EV — A Computer on Wheels: Meet the Electric Car — and has an entire zone dedicated to EVs called the Electric Vehicle TechZone. BYD America (the U.S. division of the Chinese giant BYD), Hyundai Motor), Audi, Ford and OnStar (GM’s connected car service) will have booths at the show.

3. More Energy-Efficient Gadgets. As Greenpeace notes in a post for us, consumer electronics makers are making some progress on making gadgets more energy-efficient. At the same time, they’re ignoring tracking the embodied energy spent while developing the product — but that’s another story. Startups, like Green Plug, seem to come out of the wood work every year for CES, showing off smarter consumption technology. I’m hoping Belkin will generate some buzz around its Conserve smart office (and home office) power gadget line. CES is also hosting a panel on reducing energy from consumer electronics.

4. Energy Storage. We can’t run our gadgets or the power grid without energy storage and batteries. Universal Power says it will show off a solar-powered portable generator called the Ecotricity ECO1800. Contour Energy systems, the Caltech spinout, will also be in attendance.

5. Wireless Power. Wireless power technology has perpetually been over hyped and under delivered. That isn’t stopping industry groups from continuing to talk about it. The Wireless Power Consortium, an industry group formed to create standards and includes Texas Instruments (s txn), Nokia (s nok), Philips (s phg), Samsung and Duracell (s pg), will be demonstrating a variety of new technologies, though many are pre-commercial.

Demonstrations include: Energizer’s (s enr) Inductive Charger and accessories for the iPhone, designed by ConvenientPower Group; the Fulton Innovation Transmitter; Leggett & Platt (s lm) Helios Wireless Chargers and center console; and Texas Instruments’ bqTESLA Evaluation Kit for developing wireless power products.

6. General Smart Grid. There’s a noticeable jump in companies talking about the smart grid at CES this year. CES and Clasma Events have organized a full series of sessions with speakers like NIST’s George Arnold and Reliant Energy’s Jason Few. Cisco and power company NRG Energy (s nrg) will also have booths at the show.

7. Gadget Recycling. CES has teamed up with Earth911, its recycling partner for the show, and CES once again will have the Sustainable Planet TechZone. Startup Gazelle will be at CES, touting its gadget, cell phone and laptop reseller and recycling web site.

8. How Green is the Show Itself? CES says it has cut its print production over the past five years by nearly 50 percent. The show organizers also point out that CES attendees have an average of 12 meetings, which they say cuts down on airplane travel emissions (consolidating trips into one). At the same time, the researchers at Interactive Media Strategies point out that “Tthe only real green alternative is a virtual event on your computer, not a traditional in-person event in a convention center, and “Ssaying anything else is “the epitome of spin.”

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Image courtesy of Betsyweber.